The Etiquetteist: 5 ways to dump your golf partner

two friends playing golf

"It's not you, it's me. Well, it's also you."

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Nice guy, your golf buddy. Too bad he plays at a caterpillar’s pace, barks incessantly at your ball, and insists on blasting Hootie and the Blowfish.

Only wanna be with yooooooouuuu? More like you no longer wanna be with him. What to do? Just as there are 50 ways to leave your lover, there must be some sound strategies for dumping your golf partner.

We can think of at least five.

Fake a Bad Back, Jack

Injuries have curtailed countless promising careers. You are just the latest casualty. Or so you tell your pal. Using phrases like “herniation of the C3” and other Gray’s Anatomy-like lingo (from the book, not the TV show!) will lend credibility to your account. If that fails to convince, forge a doctor’s note.

Make a New Plan, Stan

For years, you’ve been playing at the same time every week. But, wouldn’t you know it, suddenly your life-work balance has been altered. Blame it on the new boss. Or the new spouse. You’ll think of something. Urge your buddy to proceed without you. Really. You’ll catch up when you can.

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Bring in Fresh Blood, Bud

Humans are social creatures. They form bonds and pick up cues, even humans as obvious as your buddy. Next time out, invite another golfer or two into the mix, people whose on-course comportment you find more appealing. Maybe your pal will learn by osmosis. Probably not. But it’s worth a try.

Tell it Straight, Nate

Communication is key to any good relationship. And that’s your problem. You’ve been biting your tongue. Sit down with your friend and muster up the courage for a forthright conversation. Tell him everything that bugs you. Things will get awkward, and there’s no guaranteeing where they will go. It’s possible your buddy will really, truly hear you. He might apologize and pledge to change his ways. He might also be offended and say that he never wants to play with you again. Either way, you win.

Take Up a New Sport, Mort

It doesn’t have golf’s grand traditions or musty dress codes. But there’s something to be said for pickleball.


Josh Sens Contributor

A golf, food and travel writer, Josh Sens has been a GOLF Magazine contributor since 2004 and now contributes across all of GOLF’s platforms. His work has been anthologized in The Best American Sportswriting. He is also the co-author, with Sammy Hagar, of Are We Having Any Fun Yet: the Cooking and Partying Handbook.